By S. Rupsha Mitra: South Asia Correspondent
India is rich in culture and heritage. With a myriad of languages, traditions and history, the quintessential feature of India is ‘unity in diversity’, a mesmerizing feeling of fraternity among people of various creeds.
It is a Golconda of spiritual knowledge and wisdom. Ancient Indian texts such as the Vedas and the Upanishads, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, the Bhagavad Gita teach us value systems and also awaken us to the realms of spirituality. We learn spirituality from the practices of Sufism, Buddhism and Jainism in India as well.
Indian spirituality dates back into the stone age. From the Paleolithic era traces of it can be found in forms that are still relevant on the Indian subcontinent today. During times of discovery, historians have found evidence that there was often worship of a mother figurine, together with reverence towards fire.
In Madhya Pradesh, the feminine figure was venerated using a triangle as a representation. A stone was found incised with triangles, colored in red ochre, at an altar for a goddess. This practice continues even today in villages of the area, where similar stones, hued in red and incised with triangles are offered to deities. Archaeologists eventually realizing that these were indeed shrines to God.
At one such site, the Indus Valley civilization developed several variegated forms of spirituality and worship of the mother goddess. One particular seal, termed the Pashupati is important in understanding the histories of Indian spirituality as it depicts a horned figure, seated in what seems to be a yogic posture surrounded by animals. It is a possible representation of Yogic culture.
The predominant female energy defined Shakti is also found in Harappa and prevails through symbols like Swastika. India is an amalgamation of many cultures and religions, and all of them have contributed to the ambience of spirituality here.
India is an amalgamation of many cultures and religions, and all of them have contributed to the ambience of spirituality. Gurus and saints in the country, and great spiritual leaders such as Swami Vivekananda and Ramakrishna have become synonymous with Indian spirituality.
It is no wonder that people from all over the world are attracted towards Indian spirituality. Many weary western travelers come to India to seek peace and fulfilment. India-the land of hues and spices, the land of rivers and mountains, the land of enchantments-is a vibrant country. This great country will continue to be the centre of spirituality for aeons to come. Continued below…
Today’s spiritual organizations work for conflict resolution, disaster and trauma relief, poverty alleviation, empowerment of women. There are various spiritual leaders who are taking the tradition of Indian spirituality forward, like Sadhguru, who is a modern Indian thinker.
For time immemorial, the Rishis & Munis of India preferred to attain spiritual pursuits rather than materialism. They believed in self actualization and attaining the meaning of the soul as a way towards enlightenment. It is believed in Indian Spirituality that a person who is unperturbed by success or failure, finds God everywhere. Once one achieves this state of mind, one is considered as a messenger of such a deity.
Centre to this way of thinking is a perpetual focus that we are here to be caring, passionate and helpful. Thus, many Indian Spiritual thinkers were mainly concerned about spreading the message of love and care. It is this edict that you often find in modern Western Influence, particularly music.
Modern day Indian Spirituality mainly follows the principle of finding peace, non violence and ahimsa.
Today’s spiritual organizations work for conflict resolution, disaster and trauma relief, poverty alleviation, empowerment of women. There are various spiritual leaders who are taking the tradition of Indian spirituality forward, like Sadhguru, who has risen to become a prolific, influential modern Indian thinker.
Americans and indeed Westerners who are known as the lovers of technology and innovations, are attracted to Indian philosophy and culture. Their consciousness regarding the purpose of life or attainment of enlightenment arose with interactions with Endism spiritual leaders.
The long line of Swamis, Gurus, and Yogacharyas who migrated to the West, beginning with Swami Vivekananda in 1893, has been the dissemination of Indian knowledge in the West. The World’s Parliament of Religions, was the first time Americans saw Eastern cultures in their soil. Continued…
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For those early Westerners who were engrossed in spirituality, India offered a very distinct spiritual experience. They began to learn about philosophers’ works and stories. These are frequently astonishing anecdotes that speak to the science of spirituality.
Many celebrities visited Rishikesh in India, in search of calm, tranquillity and to practice meditation. The Beatles is one such famous group who tapped into this esoteric.
As a result, Rishikesh became the hub for Meditation & Yoga. Tourists from the West visit this hub in the quest of tranquility, peace, and so the place became famous in India for it’s rich metaphysical lifestyle.
Scientists such as Nikola Tesla and the eminent scientist, educator and activist, Fritjof Capra, who has helped spread knowledge of Vedic concepts, while psychologists such as Abraham Maslow and Richard Alpert promoted East-West integration in the study of consciousness.
Various western doctors promote the idea of yoga and meditation. Westerners are thus adopting Indian spiritual practices and they revere the idea of the Eastern world, its spiritual truths as sacred.
Westerners are integrating the spirituality of the east in their society and also transmitting the Vedic, Buddhist, and other Eastern philosophies amongst communities.
This is how Eastern Spirituality is seeping into the West and there’s a beautiful camaraderie between India and its opposite number in the aspect of spiritual practices.
Just look at modern homes, with Elephants, Shakti mats, incense and so many other modern influences now populating western living spaces and consciousness.
Facebook Photo: Suman Karmakar